Crystal Palace reached their first FA Cup quarter-final for 21 years after the 1-0 win away at high-flying Tottenham last weekend.
Right-back Martin Kelly scored his first goal in over 1,545 days, which dated back to November 2011, whilst also netting his first strike for the Eagles after a fierce effort beat goalkeeper Michel Vorm at his near post in first-half stoppage time.
It was somewhat of an upset in regards to both clubs’ current contrasting forms; Spurs were unbeaten in eight before the game and Palace are winless in 2016 in the league. But, it was the South London side who progressed through to the next round.
Recent draws haven’t been so kind to Pardew’s men, however they haven’t let that stop them, brushing aside fellow Premier League opposition in the likes of Southampton, Stoke City and most recently Tottenham.
However the quarter-final draw this time round has provided the Eagles with a different kind of test as they face Championship outfit and Pardew’s former team Reading at the Madejski Stadium. Pardew managed the club between 1999-2003 where he guided the Royals to promotion into Division One.
The Berkshire outfit are currently 14th in the Championship and are now the lowest-ranked side left in the competition. On paper they appear to be the easiest draw, however they know all too well what it takes to produce a magical cup run. The club narrowly missed out on making the final last year after losing 2-1 to eventual winners Arsenal after extra time.
A win against the Championship side will be a first appearance at Wembley since 2013 for Palace, where they beat Watford 1-0 in the play-off final to secure promotion to the promised land that is the Premier League.
Brian McDermott’s men came from behind to beat West Brom 3-1 in the last round and have only suffered one defeat in their last ten FA Cup ties.
So by no means is it going to be an easy game!
Palace haven’t tasted too much success in the Premier League since December 19th and a decent cup run has given the fans a bit of hope. This has been further boosted with the return of Yannick Bolasie who was out for two months with a hip injury. The DR Congo international came on as a late substitute and it was great to have him back fit because he has that spark the team have been missing recently.
Pardew, who has mixed emotions when it comes to the domestic cup competition, has commented a number of times this season that he is taking the FA Cup seriously this year and I believe that has been reflected in his choice of teamsheets.
During his playing career at Palace, he scored the winning goal against Liverpool in the 1990 semi-final which ended 4-3. He also played in the final against Manchester United which ended 3-3 after extra time and was forced to a replay. But the club suffered defeat as the Red Devils ran out 1-0 winners thanks to a winning goal from left-back Lee Martin.
Pardew again suffered defeat in the final; this time round as a manager, when his West Ham side were seconds away from winning the trophy but Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard had other ideas when he scored an equaliser in injury-time. Pardew eventually lost that game on penalties and it was another final heartbreak for the former Eagles player.
Maybe this time it could be third time lucky for Pardew and the 54-year-old might get his hands on the illustrious trophy?
Palace will be quietly confident of making the semi-final at Wembley or even the final. Who knows we may even be able to win it? Could that really happen?
But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves just yet, we’re in the quarters and let’s just hope the team gets the job done away at Reading next month.